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On The Wings Of Karl Friedrich, And History

Living in the city means hearing it all day and all night, urban voices from every cement jungle in history.

You hear voices from the sidewalk, inside the trolley.

Voices outside your apartment window wake you up.

It’s the charm of who’s who in the neighborhood.

Moving to the suburbs only changes the voice, from the actual words that sometimes annoy, to a distant buzz of a freeway that always annoys.

You hear airplanes buzzing overhead because you forgot to check if your new neighborhood lies under a flight path.

A human voice makes a difference.

We hear things as youths that stick a lifetime. That’s what happened to Karl Friedrich.

His mother told about women pilots in WWII. Like a good writer, it stuck with him.

Like a dedicated writer, he did something with it.

Karl Friedrich was the second writer I met while I was downtown for a Willamette Writers meeting; the first didn’t know he was a writer. Read the rest of this entry

Oregon Historian History

OR, “YES, I KNOW.” (Thank you RICHARD ETULAIN )

The question: Where are the historians of Oregon and why don’t we hear more from them?

Blame confusion.

Oregon is not England.

There is no long and dramatic history of the King and Queen of Oregon, deciding battles in the Oregon Channel, or telling timelines of Oregon colonizing the rest of the world.

For some, Oregon is a cherished Eden far beyond the power of common words. The aching beauty of a beach at sunset; the ghostly drama of shadows dancing through the Columbia Gorge; the noble fierceness of the Cascades.

History happens somewhere between the natural environment of Oregon and a forgettable county commissioner meeting in Hillsboro, Coquille, or Vale.

Images of Oregon could fill a calendar a thousand months long, but it wouldn’t be history. Notes from county meetings fill archival storage all over the state, but that’s not history either.

What is history, then? Read the rest of this entry

Portland, Oregon: America’s Hot Spot, Or Wishful Thinking?

Inspired By Time

I'd ask for your number, but I didn't bring paper or pen or a pocket

(With history, it’s either hard or soft. Hard history comes with footnotes, citations, and references; soft is anecdotal word of mouth. Some go both ways.) 

Time Magazine ranks Portland #1 for less than meaningful relationships by researching okcupid.com.

And you thought the heat came from the number of Volcanoes In The City Limits 

Their investigative journalist looked at boxes checked for the sort of relationship okcupid members wanted, then cross-checked where the members lived.

Portland apparently leads the pack by more than a nose.

Before listing the Top Ten friendliest locations in America, let’s look at okcupid first.

When you land on the sign-up page you’ll learn that over 56,000 people are currently using the service, or “online now.”

The drop down menus are pre-filled for Gender, Orientation, and Status. With no corrections you are female, straight, and single. So far, so good?

Anyone wondering if okcupid is OK will see the blurbs from The Boston Globe – “The Google of online dating,” which means you’ll get 6,340,986 matches in 0.5 seconds?

About.com calls okcupid “The best free dating site.” You know you’ll get your money’s worth, and then some in Portland.

The Village Voice shows a certain hippness by calling okcupid “A favorite hangout for internet goers.” It makes you want to break out the beret, shades, and snap your fingers to show you’re cool. Internet Goers?

Time says, “Completely free.” The co-pay comes later at the itch clinic.

Boston didn’t land on the top ten, neither did New York, yet they still pump okcupid. Where’s the Oregonian and Willamette Week?

Here are the top ten cities in America for most promiscuous residents (MPR) according to the experts: Read the rest of this entry

Quartzville Creek Camper

In The Zone

In Army boot camp, they spelled camping b-i-v-o-u-a-c.

Guys carried a tent pronounced ‘shelter-half‘, which means half a tent. You find someone else to make up the other half and set it up.

Hardware in Army camping included an M-16 and an entrenching tool, a folding shovel.

Once you get your tent staked, you dig a shallow trench on the uphill side to divert water. If it’s summer you dig the trench to divert urine in case the campers above you on the hill can’t find their way to the can.

Army camping is the standard for all camping to those who’ve done it. Read the rest of this entry

Modern Migration

THE WAGON TRAIN NEVER STOPPED, IT JUST ADDED HORSES

The trail got smoother, too.

Bruce Springsteen, Museum Director

If The Boss ran a museum, what would it look like?

Bruce Loves Oregon History, He's Got Some Of His Own

We know his themes; he’s reminded us for thirty-five years.

Bruce likes cars. He likes to race them:

I got a sixty-nine Chevy with a 396
Fuelie heads and a Hurst on the floor
She’s waiting tonight down in the parking lot
Outside the Seven-Eleven store

Bruce likes Rock and Roll:

Well I got this guitar
And I learned how to make it talk

Sometimes he combines them:

Driving in to Darlington City
Got a union connection with an uncle of Wayne’s
We drove eight-hundred miles without seeing a cop
We got rock and roll music blasting off the t-top singing

Is it safe to say any museum Bruce ran would have to include cars and rock? Read the rest of this entry

Deep In The Heart Of Portland

OPEN MIC MEANS OPEN MIND

The guys showed up alone carrying acoustic guitars in soft cases, paste board cases, and custom hard cases.

Each of them planned to stand on stage and sing for twelve minutes.

Twelve minutes of soul searching.

Twelve minutes of analysis.

Twelve minutes of confession.

Then a man got up and sang Sweet Dreams by the Eurythmics on his banjo. Read the rest of this entry